Hey pals. It's been a long time coming but I'm super chuffed to present you with Guac & Roll's first ever guest post. I'll be using these spaces to share stories, points of view, photo sets and recipes from some of my fave vegan brains. It's the chance to stretch an idea further than an Instagram photo, or talk about discovering a recipe away from the refines of your Twitter feed. If you'd like to share something on Guac, talk to me.
The first guest post comes from Tsouni at @yesitsallvegan. April felt like the perfect time to share this ace guide Tsouni wrote on camping as a vegan, especially as we're planning a camping trip together for later in summer so I'm literally taking notes from this. Tsouni always seems to have so many tricks on everything from re-purposing food packaging to the secret flavour-makers you should definitely carry with you everywhere. I hope you enjoy reading something a little different with your coffee today- It's nice to give someone else the wheel every now and then, right?
Vegan camping in France (or anywhere)
The very nature of travel means that it's usually going to be harder to eat vegan wherever you're headed than it is at home. And I'm not ragging on France, but in my experience it can be even harder there than in other places. So, when I was planning a four-day camping trip to the island of Noirmoutier, off the country's west coast, I decided to leave nothing to chance and go in hard with my prep.
Noirmoutier is a totally beautiful place, with sandy beaches on the edge of pine-tree forests, and while there is a small town there, a quick Google showed no results for 'vegan'. My French is OK, but not good enough to be requesting menu changes and asking what things are made of in restaurants. So, I readied myself for four days of DIY campcooking. Here's my guide to eating like a #vegan king around the campfire.
Equipment-wise, I took a small camping stove with a single gas burner. I also bought a mini non-stick frying pan and saucepan (cute) from a camping store.
Before I went to my local supermarket (and yes, I reckon you should do your grocery shopping at home before you leave – you're familiar with the products and ingredients and won't have to decipher labels in a foreign language), I planned out what meals I'd need to be making. You need to do this – just buying masses of food and hoping it'll be enough might not work out. You will either run out of things to eat, or be left on the last day with a weird combo of things and have to eat noodles and granola together… or something.
So, figure out how many meals you'll need. Arriving in the evening, and staying for two days? You'll need food for three breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners. Write this down and take it to the grocery store, and figure out exactly what you're eating for each of these meals. Embrace being an organisation nerd.
It's obviously got to be dry or long-life stuff that won't turn gross after a couple of hours in a car. Here are some meal ideas that worked out great for me:
Cartons of silken tofu don't need refrigerating and can be turned into tofu scramble. The easy camp-side method: Oil your pan, add tofu and your seasoning mix (more on that in a minute) and fry on high heat until all the water has cooked off.
Granose sausage and burger dry mixes (available in UK supermarkets) are great for travel. They come in powder form so you can just add water, let stand for ten mins, shape into patties and fry up. Same goes for Sosmix, if you can find that where you live.
Tins of black beans or baked beans. Baked beans can be eaten as is, and you can add your seasoning mix into the black beans.
Take a jar or bag of oats and make basic oatmeal with water. You can add in dried fruit and nuts (or get some of those mini jars of jam).
LUNCH and DINNER
Instant ramen. Duh.
Pasta and jar sauces (make meatballs with the Granose dry sausage mix if you're feeling fancy).
Tinned soup or dry soup mixes – the latter is lighter to carry if you're travelling on foot.
Quinoa packs small and light and, if you can use the right amount of water, you won't need extra equipment for draining.
Tins of lentils/beans/vegan chilli.
If you can get to a supermarket or market while you're at your destination, congratulations! You can buy fresh bread, salad and fruit to go with your meals. Simple things like adding herbs or spinach leaves into your cooking, or topping your plate with fresh avocado, will elevate your meal x 100.
You need snacks for your journey, so buy these too. Things that travel well: apples, dried fruit and nuts, Oreos, cereal bars.
For cooking oil, small spray bottles – like the FryLight brand – are travel friendly, light and won't spill in your bag. There's even a garlic-infused variety for flavour fans (hi).
In a similar vein, the small spray bottles of Braggs Aminos (use instead of salt; makes everything from ramen to pasta taste better) were basically made for camping.
And, the aforementioned seasoning jar. Essential stuff: make up a jar of seasoning at home (mix up salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, paprika and nutritional yeast in an empty jar) and take along to add to plain beans, lentils, tofu etc.
Hot sauce (a small bottle of Cholula or Tabasco goes a long way), if you have a full-on addiction like me.
Aaaaaand, when you're done cooking, rinse off any food packaging and recycle what you can. Most French campsites offer recycling for cartons (tetrapaks), glass and plastic. If they don't, hold onto it and find a place that does. Take refillable water bottles. Enjoy the outdoors! Don't be a jerk.
Thank you Tsouni! Follow @yesitsallvegan for more daily tips, travel advice, recipes and reviews.